Last month, Jake and Linda Weeda joined our team on a vision trip to Uganda to meet their sponsored children. We are thankful to Jake Weeda for sharing about his experience in this month’s newsletter!
By Jake Weeda
“As I reflect on the trip to Uganda, several things stand out for me. We visited newly sponsored children in their homes and villages. We visited several schools where they will be attending. We celebrated “Christmas” as we handed out bags with presents to each of the children. We worshipped a couple times.
Each time we were greeted, the person greeting us said, “You are welcome.” I wondered what sort of greeting that was. I hadn’t said “thank you” yet for anything that they had done, but still they said, “You are welcome.” It took a couple days to figure it out. It was when the group of kids at the Christmas party sang a song of welcome: “Hello visitors. We are happy you are here. You are welcome here.” So that is what the greeting meant. They were saying each time, “I’m so glad you are here,” when they said, “You are welcome.” And we did feel welcomed – to their country, their villages, their home and into their lives. There was a warm welcome wherever we went.
The joy of the Lord in their song and dance was infectious. The caregivers sang a song of welcome and joy in the Lord. But when they sang they could not just sing; they had to dance. They said they made up a special song for the guests that had come, roughly translated, “If I get an invitation from Michelle or Sandy, I cannot remain, I must come.” But it was not a matter of duty; it was a joyful invitation and an eager, joyful response to the invitation. It was evident that they were so glad they came. And we were so glad to come as well.
Our first Sunday, Pastor Rudy brought the message to the congregation and part of his message talked about “destiny concealed and destiny revealed.” And throughout the weeks we saw evidence of both. A seed placed in the ground is not revealed, but its destiny, what it shall be is concealed. As it is placed in the earth and watered slowly what is concealed becomes revealed. Its destiny is revealed as it grows and becomes a plant that provides fruit, destiny revealed.
Throughout the week we were reminded that for many of the sponsored kids, they are like a seed that is placed in the ground. What they will be is concealed. It is as they receive that education and discipleship that they are nourished and encouraged to become what God intends for them. Their destiny will be revealed as they learn and grow. Sponsors provide that opportunity for these kids to reach that God-given purpose.”
While none of the rest of us on this trip were aware, Jake and Linda were waiting for the Lord to show them if they were to sponsor another child, and if so, just who that child might be! This became clear to them while assisting some sponsored children with writing letters at the Entebbe center. We all watched as our friend Daniel shared with a grandmother, in Luganda, that the couple sitting next to her wanted to sponsor her granddaughter so she could go to school.
The room stood still and everyone had tears in their eyes as this grandmother raised her arms up to the Lord and then covered her face with her hands as tears flowed from her eyes. She then fell to her knees as she embraced both Jake and Linda in thankfulness.
We are so grateful for each and every sponsor who has said YES to coming alongside not only these children, but their caregivers as well. You are appreciated more than you may ever know!
for your continued prayers and support for the work being done through Arrows and Hope. We give thanks for each of you. We value your partnership and willingness to link arms with us to bring HOPE to the orphan and vulnerable children of Uganda.